ABOUT THIS COURSE:
Long before the enactment of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the federal government passed legislation providing special protections for substance use treatment information to ensure client privacy and confidentiality in the form of 42 CFR Part 2. Without strong privacy protections, people needing treatment may not seek the help they need because they fear the social stigma that sometimes comes from being labeled an addict. This social stigma also carries with it the very real fears of arrest and prosecution, loss of child custody for parents, job loss, the denial of healthcare, exclusion from public housing, or insurance discrimination. As a healthcare professional, it is essential for you to understand the federal laws and regulations governing the privacy of healthcare information generally and substance use treatment information specifically. These two legal frameworks sometimes overlap and sometimes conflict. The legal protections regarding substance use treatment information, in many instances, go beyond the protections provided under HIPAA. In this course, you will learn about the difference between these regulations, what entities and individuals must comply with or benefit from these regulations, the kinds of information protected under these laws, as well as information that is exempt from the non-disclosure requirements. You will also learn about rules governing individuals access to their own medical records, how to put safeguards in place to protect the information of the individuals you serve, and the consequences and penalties associated with unauthorized disclosure of such information. This course is intended for all healthcare professionals working with clients who have substance use issues. As you go through the following content, please note that this course focuses on federal law. However, every state has its own privacy and confidentiality laws, and it is the responsibility of a healthcare professional to know their states laws and regulations. Furthermore, due to the language used in these regulations, the term patient may be used throughout this course. However, a more person-centered term should be used when referring to those you serve, such as client, consumer, or person served.